CEDAR HILL — There was no sputtering slowdown and a hopeful coast to the nearest filling station for Waxahachie. The minute the Indians ran out of gas was a sudden lurching stop in the middle of the road.
For nearly all of three quarters, the Indians held the upper hand on talented District 7-6A preseason favorite Cedar Hill. In fact, as late as just over five minutes left, it was still a one-possession margin.
But in the final minutes, the bottom fell completely out. The host Longhorns scored three touchdowns — two runs and a pick-six with second-teamers in the game — against an exhausted Indians squad, inflating the final margin to a misleading 63-34 at Longhorn Stadium.
“A couple of injuries happened late in the third quarter, and we just lost our spark,” said Indians head coach Todd Alexander, who had to deal with at least one concussed player in postgame.
The big storyline this season continues to be the emergence of junior wide receiver Brandon Hawkins Jr., and Hawkins showed up with his biggest game to date. He finished with 210 yards on 15 catches and added three more touchdowns to his season total.
RELATED: See photos from the Waxahachie v. Cedar Hill game
The Indians (1-4, 0-2) lined Hawkins up in the backfield to the left of quarterback Campbell Sullivan on their very first play of the game, leaving him uncovered on a 45-yard pass from Sullivan into the red zone. Crisanto Perez’s 32-yard field goal gave Waxahachie a 3-0 lead.
Hawkins also got some touches on sweeps to lesser effect, carrying four times for 11 yards.
“He’s an unbelievably special kid,” Alexander said. “He plays so hard and he’s tough, and he does everything we ask him to plus more. He is an Indian for sure.”
Sullivan finished with four TD passes and completed 24 of 47 pass attempts for 349 yards. But Sullivan was forced to scramble numerous times and was sacked seven times, having to be helped off for the second time in as many games at one point, only to return on the next series.
The Indians pulled out all the stops, especially early. After the initial Perez field goal, they tried one onside kick that Cedar Hill saved. Then after Sullivan found Hawkins wide-open in the end zone for a 10-0 WHS lead, Preston Hodge recovered a perfect bounce on a second onside attempt.
“We knew to compete with these guys and beat these guys, we were going to have to jump on them quick,” Alexander said. “That’s the reason why we did what did early in the game. Our game plan was good and we were clicking and executing. The kids were doing a good job, playing and executing.”
Joseph Chavez also recovered a fumble and Xavien Thompson snagged an interception for the Indians.
But the Tribe couldn’t keep Cedar Hill down forever, and the Longhorns (3-2, 2-0) surged back behind the duo of Corie Allen (2 TDs, 200 yards) and Kevin Young (4 TDs, 167 yards).
After Young’s first touchdown run put Cedar Hill on the board, Sullivan and Hawkins hooked up a second time to make it 16-7. Then Allen got in on the act with a 48-yard run to make it a 2-point game and, after an Indians 3-and-out, Young plowed in from the 6 with exactly 2:00 left to give the Longhorns their first lead of the night.
The Indians, however, got off 12 plays in the final two minutes of the first half and Sullivan hit Jaden Basham on a post pattern to the Longhorn 5-yard line with three seconds left. From there, Sullivan and Hawkins connected in the back of the end zone at the halftime horn, and the upset watch was out with Waxahachie leading 24-21.
In the second half, a 60-yard touchdown run by Cedar Hill’s Allen was answered by Sullivan’s pass to Kieran Page, who hauled in a tipped pass in double coverage and broke loose for a 42-yard play to put the Indians on top one final time, 31-28, at the 5:38 mark of the third quarter.
But with 2:05 left in the third, Young went in off right tackle to close out a 75-yard, 10-play drive and the Longhorns never trailed again. The only other Indian tally was a Perez 30-yard boot through the uprights.
“The outcome is not what we wanted,” Alexander said. “We wanted to play four quarters and compete for four quarters. And our kids did. We kept pushing and driving the football.”
With their two toughest opponents out of the way, the Indians have an open date next Friday and can concentrate on making a second-half push starting Oct. 11 against Mansfield Lake Ridge.
“The bye week, we want to freshen up the kids and get some work done,” Alexander said. “Get some guys fresh and get some injuries healed, and reevaluate and reset our goals as a football team. We’ve got a great chance to get into the playoffs and that is our goal. We’ve just got to define what we’ve got to do to make that happen.”
Cedar Hill 63, Waxahachie 34
Waxahachie 10 14 7 3 — 34
Cedar Hill 7 14 14 28 — 63
W — Crisanto Perez 32 field goal, 9:50
W — Brandon Hawkins Jr. 25 pass from Campbell Sullivan (Perez kick), 4:17
C — Kevin Young 4 run (Jadon Cardell kick), 0:00
W — Hawkins 10 pass from Sullivan (kick failed), 7:55
C — Corie Allen 48 run (Cardell kick), 6:05
C — Young 6 run (Cardell kick), 2:00
W — Hawkins 5 pass from Sullivan (Hawkins pass from Sullivan), 0:00
C — Allen 60 run (Cardell kick), 10:08
W — Kieran Page 42 pass fom Sullivan (Perez kick), 5:38
C — Young 4 run (Cardell kick), 2:05
C — Cameron Hutchings 58 pass from Kaidon Salter (Cardell kick), 10:12
W — Perez 30 field goal, 5:47
C — Young 72 run (Cardell kick), 5:30
C — Christian Hallmon 9 run (Cardell kick), 2:25
C — Isaiah Hall 69 interception return (Cardell kick), 1:20
Stats Waxahachie Cedar Hill
First downs 23 22
Rushes-yards 25-54 39-449
Passing yards 360 162
C-A-I 26-51-1 10-15-1
Punts-average 4-35.3 0-0.0
Penalties-yards 6-40 10-96
Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-2
Rushing — Waxahachie: Derrick Jackson 2-15, Campbell Sullivan 15-13, Elijah Martinez 4-13, Brandon Hawkins Jr. 4-11; Cedar Hill: Corie Allen 13-200, Kevin Young 15-167, Kaidon Salter 6-45, Christian Hallmon 5-37.
Passing — Waxahachie: Campbell Sullivan 24-47-0 349, DJ Hollywood 2-4-1 11; Cedar Hill: Kaidon Salter 10-15-1 162.
Receiving — Waxahachie: Brandon Hawkins Jr. 15-210, Jalen Basham 4-71, Kieran Page 3-62, DJ Hollywood 1-20, Shawn Cherry 2-8, Derrick Jackson 1-(-1); Cedar Hill: Cameron Hutchings 3-95, Quin Bright 5-41, Brian Rainey 1-16, Kevin Young 1-10.